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The Dish: Janssen’s Temptation
The Location: W Domku Bar and Cafe, 821 Upshur St. NW, (202) 722-7475.
The Price: $12
The Skinny: Last month, when Anne Marson broke the story that chef Eric Evans had left W Domku and that owner Kera Carpenter would oversee the kitchen, I have to admit that a thousand little alarm bells went off in my head. Evans, after all, was not only the chef, but also the one with real-life experience in Scandinavia. How would Carpenter, a South Korean who had spent time in Poland as a Peace Corps volunteer, hold up the Swedish end of the menu? Just fine it turns out, if her version of Janssen’s Temptation is any indication. The classic Swedish potato casserole takes more finesse than you might imagine. The key is to balance the bold flavors—the anchovies and the onions—with the milder ones, the spuds and the cream. It’s also vital that the chef go easy on the salt, allowing the pungent fish to fill that seasoning role instead. Carpenter’s dish maneuvers through all these possible danger zones without once careening out of control. The casserole, baked to a golden crisp near the edges, is a creamy, buttery mouthful with just the right touch of salt, dill, and those stinky little fish. My only gripe? For the price, there’s not a lot of there there.